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Lockdown stole Halestorm's identity: now they're on the road to get it back

Halestorm
(Image credit: Atlantic)

Pennsylvanian band Halestorm have four albums under their belt since their 2009 debut, and won a Grammy for 2012 single Love Bites (So Do I). A fifth album, Back From The Dead, is released on May 6. 

For a band renowned for virtually non-stop touring, getting back out there after lockdown put them back where they most like to be. And they kick off their next UK tour later this month. 

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It must have been a relief when Halestorm began touring again in the US in November

To be back in our happy place – to reclaim our identity – felt incredible, because it had been stolen from us. After everything mankind went through during the last couple of years the crowds are amazing, everybody is celebrating the return of live music. It’s the same feeling as before, only turned to eleven. 

What protocols are in place to allow that? 

There’s a bubble, and apart from the band and crew nobody goes in and nobody leaves. I see the bus and I see the backstage and that is all. 

Halestorm are offering a ‘virtual VIP’ experience. How does that work? 

It’s pretty similar to this Zoom call of ours right now. I’ve been doing meet-and-greets for so many years, but this feels way more intimate because we see our fans in their bedrooms, they show us their Halestorm shrines, and we get to meet people from places the band hasn’t played yet, like the Philippines and South Africa. That’s something that I really, really like. 

How did you keep the Halestorm brand active when everything came screeching to a halt? 

We did do a couple of livestreams, but after that I went off into other areas. I started presenting a weekly show in which I dabbled in interviewing the likes of Alice Cooper, the Cheap Trick guys and the ladies from L7. That snowballed into hosting the TV show A Year In Music, and in the new year I will begin my fourth season with them.

Did you find it difficult to keep in shape mentally during quarantine? 

It was very hard, because suddenly we were faced with a completely unknown future. Performing in front of the fans is ninety per cent of my identity, and it [lockdown] was the longest time I’d had without that since I was thirteen years old. So instead we used the time to make an album. 

This will be Halestorm’s fifth studio album. Can you tell us something about it? 

We already know all of the moments [from it] that will happen live. We channelled all of the frustration that we were feeling into the album. Once again, music came to the rescue. 

Was it recorded in isolation? 

At first we were apart, but it was completed together. Also, we worked in a different way than before. I added my final vocals to the demos, so we built it like an upside-down pyramid. Everybody added their parts to what I had recorded vocally. That gave it an extra energy.

The video for the first single and title track, Back From The Dead, isn’t what you’d call an easy watch. 

[Laughing] Not at all. My mum said: “That’s a little scary.” The last thing a mother wants is to see my brother and I burying my little brother. But it was a lot of fun to do.

Back From The Dead is a hard-hitting rocker. Is it representative of the album? 

This is a banger of a record, but on the whole it has a mix of things going on. Back From The Dead isn’t even its best song. We threw everything into the album because we were uncertain whether or not we would be able to go out and play its songs live. We made it as though it were our last record.

How do these upcoming ‘An Evening With…’ shows differ to a regular Halestorm show? 

The fans will get to hear songs from our catalogue that maybe we wouldn’t include in the set, some that we’ve only played a handful of times. Don’t just expect the songs you’ve heard on the radio. 

You recently posted, with great satisfaction, that three of the groups in the Top Ten of the US Rock Radio Chart – Halestorm, Evanescence and The Pretty Reckless – are fronted by women. That’s progress

Well, the war isn’t over yet, but some pretty big battles have been won. Right now I’m on tour with Amy Lee [of Evanescence], and we are noticing a real change. Just a few short years ago we were not only the sole females in our bands, but also the only ones on the touring circuit. 

Now female musicians are on the charts, and many more come to rock shows. The split used to be sixty-forty per cent [in favour of males], but now it’s flipped. And that’s a beautiful thing. Females are not coming to the shows because their boyfriends brought them. We are proving once and for all that this rock music that we love is completely genderless.

Halestorm UK and Ireland Tour Dates

Feb 27: Manchester Albert Hall
Feb 28: Southampton Guildhall
Mar 03: Birmingham O2 Academy
Mar 04: Dublin Olympia, Ireland
Mar 05: Belfast Ulster Hall
Mar 07: Glasgow Barrowlands
Mar 09: Newcastle O2 City Hall
Mar 10: Cardiff Great Hall
Mar 12: Sheffield O2 Academy
Mar 13: London O2 Shepherds Bush Empire

Tickets are on sale now (opens in new tab)

Dave Ling was a co-founder of Classic Rock magazine. His words have appeared in a variety of music publications, including RAW, Kerrang!, Metal Hammer, Prog, Rock Candy, Fireworks and Sounds. Dave’s life was shaped in 1974 through the purchase of a copy of Sweet’s album ‘Sweet Fanny Adams’, along with early gig experiences from Status Quo, Rush, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Yes and Queen. As a lifelong season ticket holder of Crystal Palace FC, he is completely incapable of uttering the word ‘Br***ton’.